Kuwaitis pushing for parliament debate on Bidoon

February 24, 2011

A group of Kuwaiti academics have urged the parliament to hold a special session devoted to discussing the status of the Bidoon (Arabs without proper documents).

The 78 petitioners said that the latest developments have indicated the need to reach common grounds with the Bidoon on a range of social, civil and political issues.

Last week, hundreds of Bidoon clashed with the Kuwaiti security forces for three days to demand for more rights.

Claims by media reports that there were deaths and scores of injuries during the clashed were denied as baseless and lacking credibility by the interior ministry.

“We want to ensure better living conditions for the Bidoon while making sure that our country is stable,” the academics said, quoted by Al Aan news portal on Wednesday.

Around 120,000 Bidoon live in Kuwait and their status has often been at the centre of disagreements in the Kuwaiti establishment and among Kuwaitis, with many calling for granting them more rights, including citizenship, while others see them as “illegal residents” who must not be given official documents.

On Sunday, several MPs filed a request that part of the parliament session ofn March 8 be allocated to debating draft laws granting Bidoon more rights.

According to Kuwaiti daily Arab Times, MP Faisal Al Duwaisan, the parliament’s human rights affairs committee chairman, said that the discussions would revolve around the Bidoon Committee’s report on the social and civil rights of the stateless residents.

Saleh Al Fadalah, head of the Central Agency to Address the Situation of Illegal Residents, on Saturday told Kuwait News Agency that the government will continue its policy of providing all the humanitarian and civil services to the Bidoon.

The majority of Bidoon can acquire documentation if they meet the legal requirements and a state charity fund has been helping to educate up to 12,000 Bidoon children.

“Funds allocated for the education of the Bidoon population amount to about KD 6 million ($21,370,000) per year,” he said.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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